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Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

The Lookout

Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

This week Krista has asked us to depict something or someone we admire. I admire every single member of my family and all my amazing friends, so I don’t want to single any of them out! I happened to be working on a composite image of wrens when the challenge came up, so I felt it was the perfect opportunity to explain the inspiration behind the composition of the piece. The way the wren moved about on the branch was quite comical and reminded me of the work of wildlife artist, Warwick Higgs. Please have a look at his work, it’s great fun!

Sixteen years ago I was working in a gallery in Epsom. We made bespoke frames for all sorts of pieces of art, as well as selling prints, limited editions and Fine Art originals. They were some of the happiest days of my life but also some of the hardest. My Crohn’s was out of control and I went through three major operations to have a permanent stoma formed, an ileostomy. Having a place to work, if only part-time when my health allowed, gave me a real purpose and enormous satisfaction. My boss and colleagues were always supportive and understanding. It was hard for all of us when arthritic problems and fibromyalgia made it just too unsafe for me to continue working as a framer several years later.

It wasn’t just my co-workers in the gallery who gave me much needed support though! We worked closely with a number of wildlife artists who I admired very much indeed. Among them were David Sheppard CBE, Gary Hodges and Warwick Higgs. All of these artists helped us raise funds, for local and international wildlife charities, through auctions of their art at events held in the gallery. Warwick spent a lot of time with us as we framed many his originals. He also used the gallery space to hold a number of Live Art days, setting up his easel in the window space and sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with everyone who visited.

He was always very encouraging of my own art, both painting and photography. We shared a love for the observation of animal behavior, bringing some of those charismatic quirks into our work. I remember being incredibly touched when I received a handmade card and letter from Warwick whilst I was in hospital for the second of my operations. To be able to make someone feel valued is a rare gift! I will never forget his support and wish that I hadn’t lost touch with him over the years. A wonderful artist whose observation of the natural world has always produced the most delightful and fun pieces of art!

41 comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

  1. You have outdone yourself on this one, Sarah! Admiration is what I feel for your work on “The Lookout”. Your composite is wonderful and your story compelling. It is strange how big health issues bring together the worst and the best of experiences. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much Chris πŸ™‚ I think we can all find the best in ourselves, and in the people close to us, during the worst times. Hardship has a way of bringing people together just as it can tear others apart. It’s all in how you decide to face your difficulties. I try to constantly find the joy in life, like watching the dear little wren πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Lisa πŸ™‚ It was such a joy watching that little wren that I felt compelled to create a story with the images! The butterflies are all ones that I have photographed alongside the canal too. I always loved the character that Warwick’s birds had in his art! It was fun to create something similar πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Jude πŸ™‚ I can definitely see this one as a print or card and the heron too! The birds of prey are captive bred though with jesses and radio trackers on. I’d be happy for Xtreme Falconry to sell prints to raise funds for their centre though! I’m so happy to hear that you find them unique πŸ™‚ Although I took a certain amount of inspiration from Warwick Higgs, I really do want to try and create photographic art that really has my stamp on it!

  2. What a great experience and pleasure to meet and work with these artists! “To be able to make someone feel valued is a rare gift!”, so well said, Sarah!
    I love this image, a very special one. Thank you for sharing, Sarah. πŸ™‚ ❀

    • Thanks Julie πŸ™‚ I have a lot of admiration for everyone I follow!! Keeping your smallholding so beautiful and flourishing is a lot of work. I look at the amount of effort my mother-in-law and her partner have to put in on theirs on a daily basis and it astounds me that they’re still managing to keep it up. There’s nothing quite like homegrown food though πŸ™‚ I was very fortunate that some of the world’s most renowned wildlife artists actually live in my area! I pop over to David Shepherds gallery near Godalming every now and then πŸ™‚ I’ve been going to exhibitions of his since my college days in Godalming over 20yrs ago! Always such a joy to see his original paintings πŸ™‚

  3. A fantastic post Sarah, and you’re framed wrens are stunning and beautiful πŸ™‚ And it must have been wonderful to work with such esteemed artists, it’s great when they are willing to give back to the local community, and to help and inspire others.

    • Thanks Andy πŸ™‚ Yes, it really was such a great place to work with a real artistic community. It’s one of the things I miss most about working!! I’m fortunate to have become part of a really great community of musicians, artists and writers in Woking and surrounding areas πŸ™‚ Putting back into the community and encouraging others in their own artistic endeavours is a big part of what we do πŸ™‚ It seems to be something that artists really feel a need to do!

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